The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a series of enhancements to the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, including a mapping feature and reformatted data sets. The data sets and widget are also available on Data.gov in support of the USDA’s Open Gov efforts.

“The new mapping feature allows local food lovers to quickly find farmers markets while on the go,” said David Shipman, acting administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. “The reformatted data will allow application designers, programmers, researchers and others to access and use the directory’s rich data set in new ways. We look forward to seeing the practical and creative ways people put the USDA National Farmers Market Directory data to use.”

The USDA Farmers Market Directory is the department’s official tally of the nation’s operating farmers markets. Farmers markets can be found by state, county, zip code and participation in federal nutrition assistance programs through the search function.

In 2010, the USDA Farmers Market Directory listed 6,132 operational farmers markets in the United States, representing a 16 percent growth rate from 2009 levels. Results from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory are based on voluntary reporting from farmers market managers.

The new mapping feature and reformatted datasets include a list of farmers markets’ geographic coordinates that can be particularly useful for application designers. This reformatted dataset, which also includes farmers market names and physical street locations, is available as a downloadable Excel file for additional use.

This data set is available on Data.gov at: http://www.data.gov/tools/4034, and on the AMS web site at: http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets.